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In New Jersey, the length of an alimony agreement is often based on how long a couple was married. The longer the marriage, the longer the spousal support agreement can last. If you are currently trying to negotiate an alimony agreement of your own, our Sparta, Sussex County NJ spousal support attorneys are ready to assist you.

How Does the Length of My Marriage Affect an Alimony Agreement?

Which kind of alimony agreement you end up with is chiefly determined by how long you were married. You can have:

Open-durational alimony: This does not have a set end date and could last for as long as both spouses live if it is never modified. This is usually only awarded when a couple was married for 20 or more years.

Limited-duration alimony: As its name suggests, this type of spousal support agreement has a set end date.

The second type of alimony is for couples who were married for fewer than 20 years. Such agreements are not meant to last for longer than the marriage did and could last for a minimum of half the marriage’s length. So if you were married for 10 years, an alimony agreement would likely last between five and 10 years.

What Can Cause a Spousal Support Agreement to End Earlier or Last Longer?

This is what you can expect in most typical situations, but some divorces are different. In those cases, alimony agreements can end earlier or last longer, even if this seems to ignore the length of the marriage.

An agreement can end early if the supported spouse gets remarried or enters into a civil union. They need to inform the paying spouse of their change in status so that alimony payments can be stopped. Sometimes a paying spouse can also show that their ex is cohabitating with someone else and no longer needs support.

Then there are situations in which a judge can decide that an alimony agreement can go on longer than expected. They can ignore the length of a marriage and extend a paying spouse’s obligation based on:

  • How dependent one spouse was on the other during the marriage
  • The age of both parties at the time they were married
  • Whether one spouse is a primary caregiver of a child
  • A supported spouse’s health and ability to be independent
  • If a spouse gave up career opportunities to support the other spouse

So the length of the marriage does matter, but other factors can also influence the terms of the final alimony agreement and how long it lasts.

Talk to a Knowledgeable Divorce Attorney

If you are in need of an attorney who can help you fight for the best possible spousal support agreement, schedule a consultation with our law firm. The Paris P. Eliades Law Firm, LLC is ready to assist you.